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Josh Nelson Bob Bowman Collective: Tomorrow is not Promised—Review

KC’s Bob Bowman teams up with Josh Nelson and crew and cooks up a tasty new album, a delicious entree of original tunes. But beneath there’s a tart, peppery bite; we are living in plague years. Tomorrow is not promised. Savor today. This album is a treat. It comes with the polish and sheen of masterful musicians and has that light blue butane fire of a Chick Corea or Jarrett Trio album. For fans of mainstream, straight-ahead jazz, this album is perfect. Bowman can play faster than most (lightning quick) and has the subtle touch of gentle rain returning to a lake, so natural and soft, without push or rush, without ego or artifice. This is particularly evident in Bowman’s solos. Heard here or live, he is a wonder: full of engaging, fiery, magnetic presence. Bowman can be heard solo on the intro to “Yae San” and in a kind of duet with pianist Nelson in “Sometime Ago,” where Nelson’s own understated approach echoes folks like Bill Evans. This perfectly complements Bowman. Drummer Steve Haughton, guitarist Larry Koonse, and saxophonist Bob Sheppard complete the crew. Haughton is a driving presence, light but assertive on the cymbals, and smooth across the drums, rolling aptly across each. Koonse is bright on guitar, and Sheppard’s sax solos are full-bodied, golden. Nelson (based in LA) has made KC appearances, including with Grammy nominated vocalist Sara Gazarek. And although Bowman now lives in Montana, he still returns home (once and again) to our local jazz mecca. His spirit is here. Hear what he’s up to now.

—Kevin Rabas

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